World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is predicting a long hard slog against ex-ruler Alexander Povetkin when the pair meet on September 22 in London.
The top division king, who is undefeated since turning pro on the back of Olympic gold in 2012, puts his clutch of world title belts on the line against the hardened Russian and sees a tough challenge in front of him.
On whether Povetkin is being overlooked by the media and oddsmakers, Joshua even went as far a naming how many rounds he expects to be taken by the challenger.
“They’re underrating him. From a commercial stance, boxing has changed. It’s about being as popular as you are a good fighter. For Povetkin, his first language isn’t English or American [English] so it’s hard to market him. Putting that aside, in terms of talent, so I would take him seriously,” said Joshua.
“I look at different fights like the David Price fight more recently. Povetkin fights differently in all of his fights. You look at Christian Hammer with 12 rounds. I’ll approach it however I want to. I might just box and keep it simple. I might keep a tight guard; it depends on how I feel.
“I’m versatile. I can keep it low; it depends on what I analyze from my opponent. I just analyze them punch by punch and I’ll switch up my style as the rounds go on.”
Having what he sees as a stern test in Povetkin has ensured Joshua won’t be complacent.
“I promise you not at all. It made me appreciate the journey, you know how boxing is. You have to build and build, and we’ve managed to build to where we are today. Above all, as tough as it is it’s been a blessing as well and I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
Finally, and concluding with his prediction. Joshua added: “Twelve rounds probably, eleven or twelve. He’s a tough cookie, so he’ll stay around for a while.
“And I win – I win. Also, I’m at an elite level. So these guys come with skill and determination and anything shorter than that is a blessing,” said the Briton.